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Bill Cotter

A very early look at General Motors.

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Wow Bill. How timely are these pictures. I recently discovered in the Fair Corporations files a very interesting story about the construction of the GM pavilion. It would appear that there was quite a problem where the eastern rear portion of the GM pavilion would butt up against one of the planned expanded exit ramps from the GCP to the LIE was to be built. According to the Fairs Engineering Dept. files, the Fair Corporation leased GM a little too much land and the highway people took issue with this and the steep grade that would be created from the end of the foundation to the roadway (this would have been in the general vicinity of the top right side of the above second photo). The highway dept. put up quite a stink because GM's construction wouldn't allow the required separation and grade they normally require between the ramp and a structure. Needless to say, GM was not happy with the ramp being expanded onto their property either because they also had plans to put a special roadway and gate there for deliveries and VIP's to enter their property. Since GM's plans were already drawn up, approved and construction was well under way they were not very happy with this late development. The Fair Corporation ultimately solved this thorny problem with their biggest exhibitor by leasing GM free of charge more land out back for their special road and gate provided they agreed to landscape it and maintain it for the duration of the fair. Before agreeing to this though, fair officials were very concerned about security for what could easily become a free 9th gate onto the fairgrounds. Once GM assured the fair that a proper lock and security patrol would be maintained for the duration, fair officials approved GM's special gate. GM also had to agree to correct the grade issue after the pavilion was demolished once the fair was over. The highway dept. ultimately approved this plan since this situation would only exist for a few years. And as a sweetener to make GM even happier, the Fair Corporation also ended up spending quite a tidy sum to draw up plans and build a special landscaped retaining wall (if I recall correctly this project cost the fair about $50K) that was subject to GM and the highways depts. prior approval. During the approval process, GM was also quite vocal about what type of creeping vines and bushes were to be planted along the wall to screen it from view so as not to detract from the beauty of their majestic and very expensive pavilion.

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Fascinating news, Craig. Yes, GM came up very close to the Fair boundary and the highway. Your notes put a new perspective on it. Thanks! I'll post some more shots of this project later as I get them restored.

Any clue where all the dirt went?

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That's a very good question, but the correspondence files on GM is silent on what they did with all the dirt. That being said, I didn't look through the actual permit files, which may have contained a permit to haul it all away.

I wonder if any of your GM photos actually show the wall, road and gate.

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I sometimes wonder what was unearthed from the 1939 Fair when the 1964 pavilions were constructed.  The GM Pavilion was very near the site of the 1939 Maritime Exhibit.  I wonder if any of the original foundations or footprints remained when 1964 Fair construction began.

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11 hours ago, stig said:

I wonder what the earth moving equipment runs into when they build anything there now.

I think that basement area was filled in with debris and covered over, so I imagine there are all sorts of bits and pieces down there.

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On 8/30/2016 at 6:27 PM, Craig Bavaro said:

That's a very good question, but the correspondence files on GM is silent on what they did with all the dirt. That being said, I didn't look through the actual permit files, which may have contained a permit to haul it all away.

I wonder if any of your GM photos actually show the wall, road and gate.

Looking at the operations manual it appears Entrance #12 was the one near GM. I couldn't find any ground level shots yet, but here is a view from the NYSP that shows the road leading in/out of the Fair towards GM.

gm-from-nysp-1.jpg

gm-from-nysp-2.jpg

The operations drawing seemed to indicate there was a ticket turnstile and a pass turnstile.

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That was one beast of a building.  I have never seen an aerial shot like this one before.  It makes it all the more incredible to realize it stood just two brief years and was then demolished.  How amazingly wasteful.

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Wouldn't it be something if the scrap steel ended up in GM cars?

Although I imagine some of the pavilion is buried on-site a certain depth down, I imagine other things were removed first (like the ride chairs) and hauled away (where?).

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Hello Everyone: 

It has been awhile since I have posted anything on this forum. I have been reading this thread on the GM Pavilion and it made me think about the fact that the other day I read an article about the world's largest McDonald's that was built on the site of the 2012 London Summer Olympics that was operated only during the Olympics and then was dismantled. The intention from the beginning was that nearly 100% of the structure and it's fixtures would be reused at other McDonald's around Great Britain and very little of it had to be disposed of.  It seems that in the 1960's everyone had the mentality that a magic "black hole" just sucked up all of the waste and garbage of the world and absolutely no one cared about recycling.  When you think about the fact that the 1964-65 NYWF was nearly one mile by one mile square, and contained basically a small city of structures and that when the fair was over, most of it was carted off to land fills and not reused, it truly does seem to be a mindboggling waste of resources.  Such a shame that Mr. Moses and the Fair Board of Directors couldn't have had the foresite to have the buildings designed so that at least 50% or more could have remained after the fair and repurposed into the dream that Moses had for FMCP.  Just my two-cents worth. 

Ronald

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